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img_0979You will love this! Reposted here. A sweet story about teammates coming together. My son, Jake Byrne, Cody White (Texans), Ben Jones and Philip Supernaw, tight end for the Tennessee Titans. Behind the scenes brotherly love from teammates.

Source: HUDDLE!

Touchdown Dance!


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Touchdown Dance

Football Season is here!

One year ago today, after playing for four years as a tight-end for the Wisconsin Badgers, Jake scored his first touchdown in the NFL.


So proud of my son, a type 1 diabetic, who has overcome incredible odds and has grown up to be an amazing man, now married to the lovely Emma.

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Today, Jake has a book published by Harvest House Publishers: First and Goal – What Football Has Taught Me About Never Giving Up.

Ever want to know what goes on in the mind of a player when they score that first NFL touchdown…especially when they prepped for the touchdown dance? Here’s an excerpt from Jake’s devotional: First and Goal….

Touchdown Dance A player’s celebration of his touchdown catch in the end zone. Spiking the ball and some dance moves are allowed, but not other stuff the NFL deems as excessive celebration.

“Got your end zone show planned for your first touchdown?”

Seated on the couch in my San Diego apartment, I caught the football my brother Nick tossed to me. He’d come for a visit prior to our football camps—his as a Ragin Cajun tight end in college and mine as an NFL Chargers tight end.

“You gotta have swag and set your own style, you know. Like Terrell Owens when he carried a sharpie in his sock, signed the ball, and threw it to the fans.”

“That’s illegal now.” Football in hand, I leaped off the couch. “How about this?” I busted out in a smooth dance move and then spiked the ball.

“Too complicated.” Nick laughed. “Too bad you’re not playing for the Packers. It’d be easy to do the Lambeau Leap into the stands. Just don’t be a copycat and do the dirty bird or pretend to make a cell phone call. Those are done.”

Coached by Nick, I perfected a simple but signature dance move.

A couple of months later, during the second preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks, at the end of the fourth quarter, Coach called a time-out and the play that would send me into the end zone to catch a touchdown pass. The play down, the end zone dance in my head, I geared up for my big moment.

Everything went as planned. I released as if to block and the defense took the fake hook, line, and sinker. I was unaccounted for. In this preseason game, the Seahawks had me marked only as a blocker. I ran my route as Kellen Clemens lobbed the ball toward me.

Perfect catch!


Stunned and in awe, I froze. Zach Boren, a teammate who was also with me on the Texans, jumped all over me. Everyone was hopping up and down, attacking me. I thanked God and looked at the ball. Still in my hands.

Signature dance move! Gotta do it.

It was too late. I couldn’t remember the moves Nick taught me. I tried a sorry attempt of a power spike and ran off the field. Still flying high and flustered, I forgot to run out for the next play. If not for the two-minute warning, I would have received a penalty.

After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah” (Matthew 17:1-4).

I had the sequence planned out for my touchdown, but stunned and caught up in the moment like Peter, I forget my end zone dance. Only the glory of the moment mattered.

Standing before the Son of God, Elijah (a great prophet), and Moses (the law-giver), Peter wanted to build a tent and stay, not realizing the moment would be fleeting. I understand that. Entranced in my moment of glory and overpowered by the immensity of the experience, I didn’t want to leave the field.

Peter’s amazing experience was so much greater than my touchdown moment, but definitely both were moments in which God blessed us. During times in your life where God’s grace is evident, revel in the moment and thank Him, but don’t forget that when the moment ends you have to get back to reality to avoid a penalty.


My youngest son, Nick, just starts his football season with the Ragin Cajuns at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette. Proud of both of my sons and my lovely daughter, Betsy, who is studying and teaching at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. All amazing kids who have grown up to be superb adults. #Proudmomof3 

11709758_10204379746803993_808037302279955618_nJake’s book is available through most booksellers. Online at Amazon

Brotherly Love


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One of my favorite devotions from my son Jake’s book (an A-Z football devotional) – FIRST AND GOAL – What Football Taught Me About Never Giving Up

Position – Eleven players from each team are on the field at a time, and each player has a position, role, and responsibility to complete the offense, defense, or special teams.

I am a firstborn. My little brother, Nick, five years younger than me, was the last addition to the gang. In his baby years, he was happiest in one position–cradled in my lap, watching the screen as I played video games. At first it was a pain, but I got used to playing with him.


Playing video games with Nick.

My favorite games were Madden sports games. It wasn’t long before Nick’s position changed. He soon sat beside me, holding his own controller. Later, he was a real competitor, learning the football positions and eventually becoming a formidable challenger.

At age 17 I zipped up my suitcase, ready to leave for college.

“Let’s play one more game before you go.” Nick wiped a tear on his sleeve.

I took my position on the floor with Nick beside me. He beat me. I didn’t even let him. Soon the game ended. The hardest thing about leaving for college was watching my little brother tear up when I said my final goodbye.

While I was in college, I got a call from Nick. “Hey, I’m with my friends, playing you on Madden NCAA 2012.”

By that time I was actually in the college football video game, and he was proud to be picking me as a player. “Give me extra strength,” I said. “Pump up my muscles.”

“Right now I’m giving you a really huge butt and little chicken legs.”

Chuckles came through the phone.

Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another (Romans 12:10 nkjv).

Through the laughter I could hear Nick’s pride and love. When he was a kid, he’d sometimes drive me nuts always wanting to hang out with me and my friends, but I had done my best to bring him into my world. It’s what a big brother should do. Most of my friends were cool with Nick hanging out with us.

Now when we get together, I want to spend all my free time hanging out with Nick and his friends.

Nick and his teammate Daniel Cadona.

Nick and his teammate Daniel Cadona.

He’s also a football player, a tight end. Same position I played through high school, college, and into the NFL.


Nick, a Ragin’ Cajun @ The University of Louisiana – Lafayette

There’s nothing like having a brother, especially one like Nick. God says to give preference to one another. That means putting that person first, be it a brother or one who is like a brother to you. The paybacks are great.


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Sister Betsy and Nick

With Nick at a college football camp, giving him a few pointers while I was with the New Orleans Saints.

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Nick, sister Betsy


So proud of my kiddos, Jake, Betsy and Nick and so pleased that they are all the best of friends–from childhood to adulthood. First and GoalThe devotional above is an excerpt from Jake’s Book, FIRST AND GOAL – WHAT FOOTBALL TAUGHT ME ABOUT NEVER GIVING UP, now available from most all booksellers. Published by Harvest House Publishers 

Bio for Jake: Jake Byrne grew up in Rogers, Arkansas. A type 1 diabetic since the age of fourteen, he has since been proactive combating the disease and mentoring diabetic youth. He played football for the University of Wisconsin as a tight end, and went on to compete in the NFL. Originally an undrafted free agent who signed with the New Orleans Saints in 2012, he has also been a Houston Texan, Kansas City Chief, and San Diego Charger.

Jake blogs at

Facebook Page (Type Won):

Twitter: @sugarfreejb82

Instagram: Jakebyrne81


First and Goal Book Page:

Big News…not from the SCOTUS or the POTUS, but from…US!


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Got home from church on Wednesday night and found a package from Harvest House Publishers. Our book! The devotional that my son Jake and I wrote together is officially off the presses. Yippee!!!

UnknownHere’s the back:IMG_3018W

We had such a wonderful time working together on FIRST AND GOAL. I’m very proud of Jake and thankful to Kim Moore, our editor at Harvest House, who believed in this project when I pitched it to her at a writer’s conference.

img_1002First and Goal’s official release date is August 1st – when you can find it in most all book marketplaces, online and in retail stores. But right now it IS available for preorder on Amazon.

If you’ve followed Jake’s story on my blog, you’ll appreciate his inspiration in this book and all that’s he has overcome.

If you haven’t followed his story, you may enjoy some of my posts over the past couple of years about his journey into the NFL. Click the Jake Byrne link on the left column of this blog to read more.


Tsunami 2004 Book for Free!


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For a short time, I’m offering a FREE Kindle eBook: Tsunami 2004 – Still Wading Through Waves of Hope to those who sign up for my Author Newsletter – occasional brief news about new releases and sales.

Click Here to sign up

(The woman to my right is the girl on the cover. Her "then and now" story is one of many in the book.)

(The woman to my right is the girl on the cover. Her “then and now” story is one of many in the book.)

Here’s an excerpt from Tsunami 2004 – Still Wading Through Waves of Hope

Chapter 1
Send Us

January 2005, just after tsunami

Send us to the most devastated, remote villages where no one else has gone.”

My husband’s zeal was admirable, but concern reared its head in me. I glanced at Vicky, our parish member who volunteered to join us on the mission. She leaned forward in her seat, eyes bright with anticipation.

Brave soul, even the lizard on the wall didn’t faze her. But this was her first trip to India. Lizards would be the least of our difficulties.

Chennai’s sea breeze wafted through Father Michael Vyakulam’s open office window at St. Bede’s Orphanage and School. My husband (Anglican priest) and Father Vyakulam (Roman Catholic priest) faced each other from across a desk.

Nearly three decades ago, the elder led a vocations camp for boys interested in Holy Orders. He recommended Leo Michael, a zealous thirteen-year-old, for the junior seminary. The two clerics remained dear friends, regardless of their divergent paths.

Father Vyakulam glanced heavenward. Was he consulting God in some silent prayer for wisdom or asking forgiveness for where he was about to send us?

I breathed in the tangy air and hushed my fears. God wouldn’t let us down. He’d guided us from the moment we received the news that a major tsunami roared onto the shores of South India.

Ten days earlier, in a frantic but familiar Indian accent, the news came to us through the phone like headlines.

“Thousands feared dead. Seaside villages wiped out.”

I bolted upright.

My husband of two years put his hand over the receiver. “It’s Decruz. Turn on the news. Something terrible has happened back home.”

I grabbed the remote off the nightstand, then checked the clock. We had collapsed in bed only an hour earlier, exhausted after the busy Christmas season ended with the last Mass at a nursing home, followed by Holy Communion offered to a homebound member.

At the same time—given a twelve-hour time zone difference, making it Christmas Day evening—those in India were waking up to a catastrophic nightmare.

TV headlines matched my brother-in-law’s report. An earthquake in the early hours of the morning, near the Indonesian islands of Sumatra, caused a tsunami that had slammed the southern peninsular coast of India on Sunday morning.

Due to no warning system, many were feared dead.

Some of my husband’s family lived in Bangalore, Karnataka; others lived in a Tamil Nadu hill station. Neither locale was coastal. Our relatives were safe. Thank God. We said good-bye to Decruz and planted ourselves before the TV.

Just a few years earlier, my husband had lived and served as a Catholic priest to schools and orphanages in the affected coastal region. His shoulders slumped with each rising death count. Fellow clergy, friends, and children he’d cared for likely would have been among the casualties.

The next day, a local Northwest Arkansas newspaper reporter phoned. “Father Leo, is your family okay?”

A few hours later, in the reporter’s office, my husband shared his knowledge of the tsunami-affected area in South India. “Houses made of mud walls and thatched coconut leaf roofs would be decimated.

“Men would have been out fishing. Wives would be waiting for their husbands’ return to take the fish to market. Children would have been sleeping or playing along the seashore.” He lowered his head. “So many would have been caught unawares.”

“How would you help the victims?”

I think the reporter meant, how would a person help? In general or hypothetically—like, how would you like to help? But my husband accepted the question as a challenge. He leaned forward.

“We will begin a fundraiser.” He patted my knee. “We will go to any length, do whatever it takes to raise money, then we will go to India and personally take money to those most affected.”


TEN days later, trekking into impassable villages and decimated shorelines, my husband devised an amazing plan to help widows and orphans and those most affected by the tsunami. TEN years later, we returned to the same villages and encountered surprising changes and a life-threatening situation.

Sign up here and I will gift you a FREE Kindle e-copy of Tsunami 2004. To purchase a print version of TSUNAMI 2004 for $6.99 click here.


Monsters Under The Bed – Facing Your Writing Fears

Holly Michael:

My post on Writing Prompts…facing writing fears and what happens when your characters are based on family members.

Originally posted on Writing Prompts &Thoughts & Ideas...Oh My!:

by Holly Michael

Hit the light switch. Quick! Run! Dive into bed. Not safe yet! Tuck in your appendages. Whatever didn’t catch you hides under the bed and eats toes and fingers. Oh no! Closet door is open. Close your eyes!

file0001039632218 courtesy of morgue file

Does that scene prompt a childhood memory? Or was that only my childhood bedtime ritual? Confession: I was still in my teens the last time I hotfooted in fear across those creaky wooden floors in our old Wisconsin farmhouse.

Grown up now–or trying to be–at bedtime I hit the light switch and tip-toe cautiously in fear of what hides under the bed–dust bunnies that might induce a sneezing fit or…gasp…need to be vacuumed up.

Photo by Holly Michael, her children. Photo by Holly Michael, her children.

Fear. Do we ever outgrow it?

Writing is scary. Fears cripple writers. What can we do? The only way to get over fears is to face them. Let’s take a…

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My Amazing Connection to Author Jan Pierce: What I Wish all Parents Knew


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Alone in a foreign country, with my husband in a third world ICU suffering multiple organ failure, God summoned his angels. They are the Pierces: Jan and Roger.

Homegrown Readers coverToday, Jan Pierce is a guest on my blog. She will share her secrets about inspiring children to love to read. Jan is a retired teacher and freelance writer who specializes in writing about education, parenting and family life topics. She is the author of the newly-released book, Homegrown Readers: Simple Ways to Help Your Child Learn to Read

Last November, when my husband contracted dengue fever from a mosquito bite, I’d only known Jan vaguely as an author friend on Facebook. During our crisis in India, my only means of communication was via a hospital computer. I got on Facebook and asked for prayers.

Jan Pierce saw my message. Her husband Roger was in India, in Bengaluru, where we were. Deciphering my sporadic messages, the couple discovered our location.

A few days later, Roger stepped into the hospital room. With happy tears upon seeing my husband alive and well, he told us that God had prompted him to pray with fervency. He’d spent countless hours interceding before the Lord for us. Roger had never met us before, but we all held hands and prayed in that hospital room, so far from home. We were all overwhelmed at this amazing connection…

Because of God…

Because of prayers…

Because of…yes, Facebook…

…my husband recovered and I am able to introduce Jan Pierce to you, a wonderful talented compassionate author with a heart for India and a heart for helping kids learn to read.

I’m handing over my blog to Jan. And what’s really cool about her post today is that today March 5th, is UNESCO’s World Book Day. A celebration that encourages children to read. To celebrate, Here’s JAN!!!!!

Thanks, Holly. God is amazing and I am grateful for your husband’s recovery and for your welcoming me here today to talk about What I Wish All Parents Knew…


Today’s busy families are hard pressed to give their children everything they need. Schedules are packed. Kids join soccer and T-ball teams. Families enjoy the outdoors together camping and hiking. Parents take time to teach their children basic kindness and manners, but they often wait to get into that book learning, the reading and writing stuff, until their children enter school.

But here’s the thing. Reading is really important. Virtually all learning takes place through the written word. Children who haven’t been read to, who haven’t listened to fairy tales, poems, tales of curious monkeys and books about real animals, kids who aren’t familiar with books and what’s inside them–these kids are at a disadvantage when they go to school.

The solution is simple. Read to your children. Even if you had unhappy experiences in your own learning to read years, the price of entering school without lots of experience with books is too high. Kids soon learn that the other children know what’s going on. They don’t. They’ve just begun their school career and already feel like a failure.

Reading aloud to children is, ideally, a wonderful thing. It can be the ritual before naps and bedtimes. It can be what the family does on Saturday mornings while they eat their pancakes. Sharing favorite stories should be a positive experience for the whole family. If that isn’t the case, something needs to change. If reading isn’t enjoyable to you as the parent, suck it up and do it anyway. (You’ll change your mind.)

Regular read aloud times should be part of the family schedule. Let children choose some of the titles. Read a variety of fiction and non-fiction books and don’t forget that maps, comic books, the Sunday comic strips and even instruction manuals are all reading materials. It’s never too late to start because it’s just that important to success in school.

When your children enter kindergarten let them be the kids who have heard at least five hundred stories. Let them be the ones who understand that stories have characters and settings and plots. Let them know which way is up on a page and that writing goes from left to right. Teach them to love books and reading. Your reward? A happy, successful reader.

Holly: Thanks for that message Jan, could you share a little more about your background.

Sure, I’m a wife, mother and grandma to three terrific grandsons. I retired eight years ago from a long career in education. I taught all grades from kindergarten through fourth grade, but mainly taught first and second grade, so I had ample time to teach children to read. I earned a reading endorsement when I got my Master’s degree because I wanted to understand more about the nuts and bolts of reading. I spent the last two years of my career as a reading specialist.

When I retired, I determined to stay active and soon realized I had two new “jobs.” One involves Teams India, the NGO my husband and I founded to do missions work in India. The second is I became a freelance writer. I’d never published a thing before 2007, but soon found that I love the challenge and everything related to the writer’s life.

And getting involved in the writing life is what brought Jan and I together on Facebook. Isn’t this an amazing connection? And my blog is all about connections.

Holly: Before you go, Jan. I really want to stress the benefits a parent will get from reading your book? Can you tell us how it will help parents and their children?

Sure. Any parent who wants their child to gain reading skills in English will benefit from the information in this book. It’s important that parents understand English is not a highly phonetic language and because of that children need more than phonics to read well. They need to use thinking strategies to find the meaning in a text. If they read the words perfectly, but don’t understand the meaning, they haven’t really read. All the strategies they need to solve reading problems are found in Homegrown Readers.Homegrown Readers cover

And below are links to Jan’s site and to purchase her book: Homegrown Readers: Simple Ways to Help Your Child Learn to Read

CONNECT WITH JAN: Website: and / Facebook author page / Jan’s Amazon author page / Linked In / Pinterest to buy Jan’s Book /  To purchase Jan’s Book from Barnes and Noble

Beautiful beach and seaHolly: If you’d like to hear more about our drama-filled visit to Tsunami-devastated Nagapattinam in our “then and now” book, Tsunami 2004 – Still Wading Through Waves of Hope, click here. The nonfiction book takes a look back at our visit ten years ago and our return trip this last November and the challenges and surprises we encountered. It also chronicles the lives of several orphans.

But, first, I urge you, parents, teachers, aunts, uncles grab Jan’s book from the links above. It’s a must for any one who cares about helping a child they love learn to read!

Type Won with Type One

Originally posted on Type Won:


Launch day for!

Why Type Won? By never accepting limitations, I pushed forward toward goals that included becoming a tight-end for the University of Wisconsin and also playing in the NFL. Ultimately, my goal is to live a healthy life with type 1 diabetes. My desire is to help others accept, control, and compete with type one diabetes.

I was diagnosed at age 14 with type 1, but was determined not to let diabetes win. Embracing a positive attitude and not letting diabetes beat me, I gained an edge in managing this disease and in competing in sports.

charger copy

Type 1 diabetes is completely different disease than type 2 diabetes. Type One diabetes strikes at any time, and especially children and young adults, (though it can develop at any age).

Type One diabetes is autoimmune disease, that strikes when the body’s immune system declares war on itself, mistakenly reacting to the insulin-producing…

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